Financial Roadblocks Require Creative Solutions


Over the past few weeks I was hit with a double whammy of bad news. First, the company that manages my online store stopped paying all creators for an extended period of time. Then on the morning I expected to see my most recent long-overdue payment, I instead learned that the same company also paused all digital download sales without warning. So pretty much overnight, the Portfolio Charts store that I’ve spent years thinking about and months getting up and running went up in smoke.

How has your week been? Because mine has been something else.

Luckily the story has a happy ending, as I managed to rapidly pivot and build a new storefront from scratch with a great new provider*. So if things look a little different in the Products section, you’re definitely not imagining things! While it was a lot of work, with the benefit of hindsight and a glass of my favorite whiskey I’m excited about how everything turned out. The entire integration from the aesthetic to the user experience is a big step up, and assuming it delivers on its promise it’s hard to imagine that I ever did it any other way.

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and for me that has always rung true. For all the pain, I’m thankful for the challenge. Because in the end the results were worth it.

While my own little adventure may be interesting, I also feel like there’s a good lesson here beyond meager website drama. With crazy inflation, job turnover, looming energy shortfalls, and a list of financial curveballs too long to cover, a lot of people are dealing with some really difficult situations right now.

In a financially-driven world, it’s often instinct to assume that the cause of your pain is a simple lack of money. However, I think it’s important to note that there are really stressed-out wealthy people and surprisingly calm poor people dealing with all kinds of issues. So from my perspective, what really separates the frustrated from the empowered is sometimes more about mindset than net worth.

When faced with an unexpected roadblock, some see impassable adversity and shut down. But others see a new opportunity to adjust on-the-fly and create an appealing workaround. Which type of person are you?

Now I have enough good sense to not simply write off all problems as a matter of attitude. Sometimes life is just hard with concrete challenges that we have to deal with. But I think we can all use a pat on the back and a reminder every so often to step back from what we’re worried about most and take a look around. Sure, what you’re dealing with right now may be truly unavoidable. But maybe there’s a completely different way to solve your problem than to beat your head against the same wall or throw more money at it.

  • Do you feel trapped by a house with expensive repairs? When is the last time you thought about downsizing to a place with less stuff to maintain?
  • Are you stressed out beyond what you can handle? Rather than resorting to assistants, unhealthy self-medication, or any number of other patchwork solutions, when is the last time you took an active step towards the life you actually prefer?
  • Or are you disappointed in your investment returns and tempted to take increasingly greater risks to squeeze out every possible basis point? When is the last time you calculated the guaranteed benefit to your brokerage account of simply trimming your expenses and investing the difference?

When you see problems as design opportunities rather than barriers, it’s funny how quickly they lose their power over your emotions. Creators often get tired but they rarely feel trapped.

So as you browse the new Products section, take a moment to think beyond the items right in front of you and consider for a minute how you might have handled the same situation. Would your first instinct have been to feel down or to get busy building?

I’d be lying if I said that I never got angry or frustrated. But I’m happy that I powered through that initial reaction and started brainstorming solutions. Let that empowered mindset really sink in, and your problems won’t miraculously go away but the way you deal with them will almost certainly change for the better.

Roadblocks are just diversions, not endpoints. Be flexible. You’ve got this.

(*) My hat goes off to Fourthwall for providing a great product and an excellent onboarding experience. Please let me know right away if you have any issues with the storefront, but based on what I’ve seen so far I’m hopeful that things should run smoothly. And if you’re in the market for a good POD or digital downloads provider, definitely check them out.

If you’re interested in giving back, in addition to Ko-fi there’s also a cool new donations section with several more payment options. I appreciate your support!